Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Moscow to the End of the Line

Venedikt Erofeev

I’ve studied Latin American authors in school, back when I was young and innocent, and then later when I was old and less innocent, and somewhere in there was triggered a love for the magical realism that is so often a hallmark of those writers. And I went around thinking that they had the market cornered on the peculiarly imaginative, flight of fancy style of writing that makes me so happy. Why didn’t any one tell me about modern Russian literature?

It could be that modern Russian literature is not, in fact, characterized by surrealism and the beautiful profane, and that I have simply lucked into two Russian authors who are similar in their approach to the novel (i.e., exploding it in one way or the other). So I will test my theory, in the future.

In the meantime, I loved Moscow to the End of the Line. It is the story of a man, drunk and heartsick, traveling to see his lover and his child. It’s a monologue about culture and history, music, art, literature, politics and the Russian soul. It gets stranger and more surreal as the narrator gets drunker and drunker, and abruptly plummets back to earth at the end. It is hilarious and weird and sad, a tiny little book that feels much bigger than it actually is.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know it's been a while since you posted this, but if you like the surreal and "Moscow to the End of the Line," I recommend reading "The Master and Margarita" by Bulgakov. It's an excellent work.

8:35 AM  

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